Now, onto the very real deadly flooding and today's news conference:
Reacting to statements from Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Allegheny County Sanitary Authority that water volume was the culprit, not the quality of their systems, Mr. Ravenstahl said, "I'm not necessarily 100 percent satisfied with that answer yet." (P-G, Joe Smydo)
That's pretty much where I'm at. And no further. It's too easy to say, "PWSA in particular and city government in general drives me up the wall, they must be at fault here."
But there are still some unanswered questions:
For example, though it was quickly made to sound like all the relevant parts of the system were recently inspected and confirmed to be operating in perfect condition, we're now considering "using robots to inspect the submerged outfall pipe". How critical is the function of that outfall pipe to systemic function, and when was the last occasion on which it was inspected?
Do we still really not know whether the storm drains on Washington Boulevard were clogged with rocks prior to Friday's storm, or whether the clogging occurred as a result?
Do we have any confirmation yet by meteorological professionals that this was in fact a "100-year storm"? We know it was bad. Three inches in an hour, two inches in 37 minutes is bad. Can actual weather experts state with the same confidence our public officials are employing that it was the Storm of the Century, the implication being, no sense fretting over another one that bad?
Even if it was an event we might once have considered a 100-year storm, is that still the case?
Finally, assuming we won't be laying this all at the feet of a submerged outfall pipe and clogged storm drains, I think we can take ALCOSAN readily at its word that an engineering solution preserving Washington Blvd. as we know it will take billions (with both a "B" and an "S") no matter which option we settle on.
Talk about a big dig -- imagine four or five North Shore Connectors.
Where in the hay is that supposed to come from?
Better to make sure those flashing warning signs work really well, and maybe add some mechanical arms to discourage the real idiots.
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